Attorney General Don Morgan speaks to reporters in Saskatoon on July 6, 2020. (Francois Biber/CTV Saskatoon)

The Office of Residential Tenancies (ORT) will accept eviction applications regarding missed rent payments beginning on Aug 4.

“When the pandemic began, we wanted to ensure tenants facing hardship as a result of COVID-19 were able to take the necessary social distancing measures,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan said.

During the pandemic, the ORT was hearing eviction cases where there was violence and damage to property and the moratorium on evictions was meant to help ease the pressures faced by tenants, Morgan said. It wasn’t a free pass on rent.

“When we started the process initially we indicated it was rent deferment, not a rent holiday,” Morgan said.

The ORT can now resolve issues around tenants deliberately not paying rent, he said.

Applications will need to be submitted by email or mail as in-person services will continue to be unavailable due to COVID-19.

The opposition NDP said the timing of the change is wrong.

"A spike in evictions as the economy reopens and as parents prepare to send their kids back to school would be disruptive for the economy and for families," NDP Justice Critic Nicole Sarauer said.

"The province needs to sit down with landlords and tenants and come back with a plan to ensure that we do not see families who have acted in good faith put out on the street.”